Up Three – To Foul or Not To Foul

Up Three – To Foul or Not To Foul by Bill Fenlon

My good friend and fellow assistant coach Brian Gustafson stumbled upon this article from DePauw Head Coach Bill Fenlon when we were sitting at a high school game contemplating what we would do if in this situation: to foul or not when up 3 points at the end of the game? At Colorado College, we actually experienced both sides of the argument in a single game. It was against our rival, Trinity (TX), and the game was close nearing the end of the second half. Trinity had the ball and we were up 3 with less than 10 seconds left. Instead of fouling, we let Trinity get a shot off and what do you know, it goes in. Overtime….

In overtime, we weren’t going to make that mistake again. It of course came down to us being up by 3 points with less than 10 seconds left again, but this time, we fouled. Even better, we fouled a poor free-throw shooter. He missed both and that was the game.

It is a tough decision for coaches to make, but luckily Coach Fenlon is here to help.

With Coach Fenlon’s permission, he has allowed me to share his article on whether or not to foul, and more importantly why. It is a great read, and he did a thorough job thinking through every possible scenario. He even has a situation at the end that I hadn’t thought about (intentionally stepping into the lane while the other team shoots the free-throw on the second shot).

To read the article, click here! To Foul or Not To Foul

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